The Baltimore Ravens are responsibly loading up on offensive line depth. It may pay off in a big way this upcoming season:
The Baltimore Ravens haven’t had to worry about the right guard spot for a long while, as Marshal Yanda was their long-term starter. With the retirement of Yanda the Ravens made sensible moves to keep them in a good spot with the offensive line.
In the 2020 NFL Draft the Ravens added two offensive linemen. In the third round the Ravens drafted Tyre Phillps, an offensive tackle that can play at guard. In the fourth round Baltimore selected Ben Bredeson.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Ravens have agreed to a contract with D.J. Fluker. Fluker was released by the Seattle Seahawks after the NFL Draft. Fluker was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2013 and has also played for the Giants and Seattle Seahawks.
The Ravens now have two players who can play the swing tackle role that James Hurst used to fill. Fluker, who came into the league as a massive tackle from Alabama, has experience at both positions. He’s best at guard but he has some versatility. Phillips is another player who can back up two positions.
The Ravens didn’t draft an offensive lineman early and they didn’t make a big splash signing for the offensive line. Instead, the Ravens opted to make the offensive line the main roster battle heading into the season. Before the draft Ben Powers was the presumed heir apparent to Yanda. After the draft Powers will be in a heavy competition for the starting job.
It would have been irresponsible for the Ravens to limit their options up front. The Ravens have a second year player, two rookies and a seasoned veteran all fighting for one starting job. One way or another, the Ravens have managed to improve their depth.
Baltimore lost two offensive lineman this offseason, one ceremoniously the other (James Hurst) was an easy cut. There were roster spots that needed to be filled. Then when you consider that Matt Skura may not be ready for the beginning of the season and Bradley Bozeman was originally a center, the only things set in place are the starting tackles.
The Ravens hedged their bet with the offensive line. At this point of the offseason there is no way of saying how it will unfold. The Ravens don’t need to walk into training camp with an answer at the right guard position. They just need to come up with a starting five the coaching staff can feel good about for the start of the regular season.
It’s important to remember that left guard was the biggest uncertainty heading into the 2019 season. Bradley Bozeman unexpectedly won the job and it worked out. The Ravens have more solid options for right guard than they had for left guard a year ago. The Ravens should be trusted to get this right because they are responsibly loading up on offensive line help.